Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Category: Melissa’s life (page 3 of 20)

September Burger Caucus: Mugs Cafe

1/2 pound beef burger with avocado, cheese, and a spicy sauce

1/2 pound beef burger

September 18th was National Cheeseburger day and the Little Rock burger caucus celebrated it at Mugs Cafe in the Argenta neighborhood of North Little Rock. I arrived a little late so the burgers were being delivered to some as I ordered. It was a nice mix of politicos, media hounds, and other random folk. I am “other random folk”.

Mugs is a coffee shop that also serves food. As a result, it doesn’t serve fountain drinks such as Coke or Pepsi. You can buy bottled sodas such as ginger ale, grape soda, and similar bubbly drinks. The decor and layout is definitely a coffee shop vibe with tables spread out for socializing. There is a couch and comfy chairs in the back of the place.

The burger itself was a very generous half pound of beef with “bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, pepper jack cheese, and a spicy mayo on an onion roll. Served with sweet potato and apple hash.” (quoting the menu on the website) The pepper jack and spicy mayo means this burger has a kick but it complements not overpowers the beef. It still taste like a hamburger. The sweet potato/apple hash was interesting. I ended up smashing the sweet potatoes with my fork and eating them like mashed potatoes. I wouldn’t characterize the sweet potatoes as mushy though. This was, in my opinion, one of the better burgers in Little Rock and I advise that you make the trek to North Little Rock and check it out.

The best hog is the one in a smoker

Here is a confession. I am pretty apathetic about football. I don’t hate it. I think some schools spend way too much money on it but as far as an extracurricular activity goes, you could do a lot worse. I was in high school marching band so I do understand football. I do manage to have a good time when I go.

One of the fascinating and fun things about football is the tailgating. Tailgating is the practice of people setting up a larger than life picnic style feast in the parking lot of the stadium before the game starts. The particulars of tailgating differ depending on the school. The University of Arkansas plays football games at both the stadium on the main campus in Fayetteville and War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. For people not familiar with Arkansas, Fayetteville is in the northwest corner of the state and Little Rock is centrally located. For many years, Arkansas has tried to make the U of A to be “THE SCHOOL” of Arkansas complete with the Razorbacks being the state team. (Yes there is Arkansas State University and it is a division I school. Another story for another day). The purpose of having the games in central located Little Rock allowed people from all over the state to enjoy the Razorbacks. War Memorial Stadium is located in the middle of War Memorial Park, which includes a golf course. On game day, the entire span of land is filled with trucks, tents, BBQ grills, generators, and televisions.

About a month ago, I was invited to participate in a Kickstarter campaign to raise money so that foodie extraordinaire and hellraiser Kelly Gee could get a BIG ASS Smoker. He plans on competing in BBQ competitions. His first trial run was tailgating at the first Razorback game on Saturday. Now considering that his twelve year old kid kicked my butt in a pie baking competition, I was all about this BBQ.

Oh did I mention that people set up tailgating at like…. 9 in the morning.

I wasn’t having any of that. The game started at 6. I didn’t arrive until 4.

I saw a lot of my food loving friends including the real life urban legend Kevin, Arkansas’s biggest snark master Greg, Dan the Man who has a pair of jorts for every occasion (no really I bet he has a “wedding pair” and a “funeral pair” in his closet) and Kelly Gee, the owner of the Beastmaster and Grand Imp of central Arkansas.

By the time I got there, I got to taste some pork loin and some pulled pork. It was gosh darn tasty and better than some BBQ I have paid money to eat. I heard fawning praise over some wings and ribs. I guess next time I need to make fashionably late a little earlier. I bought some soda and other people had brought food. Dan bought some tasty meatballs. Erin made a plethora of Jello shots. The Cherry Coke one was my favorite.

Oh and the Beastmaster was huge. It would be the official smoker of Fried Green Tomatoes. — if that sort of thing wasn’t illegal and all.

Another friend had a tent further up the way. I visited him for a while and saw a bunch of people I knew.

That’s the thing about tailgating. It’s more about meeting up with people you know: it’s a class reunion, street festival, and happy hour all rolled up into one. If I had made an effort, I could have visited with over fifty people I knew personally and introduced myself to another fifty. But i was all about the relaxing.

Oh the game. Yeah. we won.

2013 Little Rock Half Marathon

So on Sunday, March 3, 2013, I “ran” by fourth Little Rock half marathon. The weather forecast predicted it was going to be cold and I had a cranky left calf that was tight and getting sore so I was a little apprehensive about this race. My sole goal this time was to finish without hurting myself. That’s called “setting the bar low,” folks.

This was also the first year that I did the race without my Mom here. I have since moved to the central Arkansas area and so there was no need to rent a hotel room and as a result, no need for my Mom to come up here and make it a mother/daughter event.

I picked up my packet after work on Friday. The expo seemed smaller than it was in previous years with fewer total vendors. I was short on case this year but I did buy this t-shirt That says “Keep Calm and Run On” Yeah I am loving it.

Keep Calm and Run On. Best shirt ever.

Keep Calm and Run On. Best shirt ever.

I also got my official half marathon shirt, which is a tech shirt.

Turquoise and emerald green. ODD CHOICE

Turquoise and emerald green. ODD CHOICE

Yes it was emerald green, which is the official Pantone shade this year, with turquoise letters. It is as odd as you think it would be. But hey I got my shirt in my size. Good times. Also, I stopped by the GO Running space and got a special “VIP” ticket (because I shop there so much) which meant I had pomegranate margaritas. See Go Running! is the store for you! Or it should be because you didn’t get pomegranate margarita at your expo, did you? I also met the woman who wore the cool Wonder Woman socks at the Bowen 5K. I also took advantage of the volunteer massage therapists and got a nice little rub down. Then I went home and ate pasta.

Saturday. I don’t even remember what I did that Saturday except to read Rebecca’s recount of her 5K experience which mentioned that she got snowed on and promptly exclaimed several curse words. I don’t mind cold but cold falling wet stuff is my limit. I am just not that hard core. Needless to say, I was very apprehensive. I had received an email that the “Hot Legs” (My running club was going to meet in front of the library at 7:30 for a group picture.
Saturday. I don’t even remember what I did that Saturday except to read Rebecca’s recount of her 5K experience which mentioned that she got snowed on and promptly exclaimed several curse words. I don’t mind cold but cold falling wet stuff is my limit. I am just not that hard core. Needless to say, I was very apprehensive. I had received an email that the “Hot Legs” (My running club was going to meet in front of the library at 7:30 for a group picture.

So I ended up carbo loading at my house and went to sleep in my own bed which is 30 miles away from the race site. This is a new development. Usually, I stay at the Comfort Inn near the starting line. I woke up and put on my clothes that I had laid out the night before and “OH GOD” it was cold. I had put on gloves and a headband to cover my ears but I didn’t bring a jacket. I figured it would warm up as soon as I started running. When I finally walked outside, I noticed that there was a light layer of ice/frost on my car that I had to scrape off with my Panera card.

MY MY.

I drove in to Little ROck and traffic was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. everyone was trying to get to the same place. I finally found a place to park but missed the 7:30 picture. I also managed to get to the perks pavillion just in time to pee and get to the starting line. IN fact, I heard the national anthem while I was in line. I got to the race line just in time for the elites to go. This year they did the start in waves with the elites going and then A and B having an official go time a couple of minutes later. This is a completely new development. In the years before, the announcer said go and everybody started walking and then once you passed the line, you started running.

I don’t think the open corral even got to the starting line until 12 minutes later.

So I was off. I didn’t think my phone battery would last so I decided not to listen to music until I got back from North Little Rock. This also means I didn’t have my run keeper pace timer. There are usually a lot of people cheering in North Little Rock there is enough to sustain me. I just ran from one street line to the other. It was a little odd but overall, it seemed close to the same. I knew i wasn’t going to get any PR’s due to cranky calf so I had it in my head to take it easy. That’s what I did.

I don’t remember being tired and so I would run. Friends kept passing me. I saw Brian who is a prosecutor. I saw my friend Rebecca. I saw Eric. And then I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in person since High school but thanks to the beauty of social media, had been chatting it up with him for quite a while. I finally made it across the bridge. I was feeling good. It was slow. Occasionally, I could feel my calf but it wasn’t overwhelming in its tightness or pain. I did, as a result of the first bridge, come to the decision to not even try hills. I walked all the hills.

By this point, I had my music and was trucking along. I was using Stinger waffles as my fuel of choice. I discovered during the second half that maybe they are a little too sweet. Near mile 10, I started to feel a little nauseous.

I managed to run and walk the entire way. I even made a little spring near the end.

Good times. I got my medal.

The Yee Haw cowboy hip hip hooray half marathon finisher's medal.

The Yee Haw cowboy hip hip hooray half marathon finisher’s medal.

BOO YAA!

I felt good. I did wait for a message therapist near the end and that was fun. I think it helps a lot. It gets the main kinks out that ruin your day. I then went home and took a nap.

When I got back, I checked my time. It ended up being

Oscar Predictions

I love movies. I don’t watch as many as I want but I do love them. Once upon a time before the Best Picture nominees were 10, I used to watch all of the nominees. So I’ve got a knack about this sort of thing.

I haven’t seen that many of them this year and I admit it which will make this more fun. 😀

WRITING
Original Screenplay

My prediction: Moonrise Kingdom Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola.

Why: For whatever reason, this is the category of the Academy awards that likes to encourage the young. You will remember that this is the category that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won in the the 90s for Good Will Hunting. Also, there’s a Coppola. This was a movie that created its own very particular world and its own particular world view. It has witty dialogue and is more than it appears on first blush. (Hi I’ve actually seen this movie)

Why not Tarantino? Well. I might get punked on this. I would love to see the Tarantino acceptance speech. Strangely enough both Tarantino and Anderson have very strong “views” and heavily borrow from pop culture and other film genres. It’s fascinating to see how they come up with such vastly different products.

WRITING
Adapted Screenplay

Lincoln
Written by Tony Kushner

This is the big epic movie nominated. This will be the one that gets it.

ACTRESS
in a Supporting Role

Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables

Why?

Oscar loves to award women who play prostitutes. Oscar also loves to award women who die. Oscar loves to award beautiful women who go through a massive physical change for the role. Seriously. She has this one. She also has won virtually all the awards leading

ACTOR
in a Supporting Role

Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln

Remember when he got nominated against Daniel Day Lewis for No Country for Old Men and lost. Yeah, this is makeup award. I’m rooting for Robert De Niro and he might get it as a pseudo-Lifetime Achievement Award but Lincoln is the more grandiose of the movies. Oscar likes grandiose.

ACTRESS
in a Leading Role

Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Why? This is the yeah you should have won for Winter’s Bone and here you go again award. Also, Oscar loves crazy.

ACTOR
in a Leading Role

Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln

Why? Okay I really want Hugh Jackman to win but it is not to be. Daniel Day Lewis is an amazing actor and he has won this award two times before. The Academy already likes him. He managed to pull out a performance of a person who could have very easily been a Caricature and it’s President Lincoln. Dissing on President Lincoln is kicking puppies. I don’t think the Academy will do it.

Best Director in a Motion Picture

Feh. I have no idea. NO really. I think it’s between Ang Lee and Spielburg.

Best Picture

Argo

Why? The torture controversy in Zero Dark Thirty will knock it out. It’s part of history and I think enough people will be “BEN AFFLECK WAS ROBBED” for not being nominated.

Caturday photo

My cat likes to look out the window. I interrupted him and took this picture.

Sweet Love!

Last Saturday, I went to the super special preview of Kelli Marks‘s new bakery Sweet Love. It’s official grand opening is on THIS FRIDAY THE 13th but don’t let that scare you. This will not be scary, unless you want some scary good treats. (ouch! shoot me now before I finish this!)

Sweet Love is located at 8210 Cantrell Road in Little Rock across from Pavillion in the Park. It is in the same shopping center as Tzakiki’s. That’s right! You could get a gyro and a cupcake. How about that?! oh and on the other side of Tzakiki’s is a liquor store so it’s a full on party on this little slice of Cantrell. Don’t say I didn’t tell you about it.

Ahem.

So what will you find at Sweet Love?

You will see this cute little yellow table set up to get beverages. Yes the table will be there. I can’t promise that there will be coffee and pink lemonade but it should be tasty.

See Kelli in the Pink Baker’s coat. Yes that’s the maker of the treats. Be nice to her. The woman holding the baby is Kat and that baby, Nora Kate, is the most laid back chilled baby in the history of the world. She didn’t cry at all and there was a helluva a lot of noise in that place. I have never been that chilled out about anything in my life. EVER! The lady on the left is Sarabeth. She makes tasty salsa and took pictures with the fancy pants camera. My pictures are taken with a camera that probably retails for $19.95 now.

LOGO! Pretty!

These are chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. Yeah exactly. It tasted exactly like you think it would: Chocolate chip cookie dough covered in chocolate. She used mini chocolate chips so you had multiple chocolate chips in each cookie-dough-tastic bite.

These are mint chocolate brownies. These were make obnoxious orgasm sounding “ooohs” while eating them good. Unlike most things that are mint chocolate, the mint doesn’t overpower the chocolate. Instead, it’s a marriage of equals. There is both a strong mint and a strong chocolate taste in this brownie. It’s also on the gooey side but that just makes it better.

The pink flower covered cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes with vanilla butter cream. (the pink flower). The others are vanilla cupcakes covered in chocolate ganache.

I have a confession. These had coconut on top and as a result, I didn’t even try them. I was told these things were good.

So there you go. Go to Sweet Love and try some tasty treats for yourself.

Wordless Wednesday: It is so on

The local gym has Kettlebell classes for 2 dollars a classes provided you bring your own kettlebell. Wobbly arms, you are gone.

Holidailies 2011

New Year, New Goals

The last year seemed to be about finding out the person I wanted to be and finding out who my friends were. I wasn’t popular in high school. On some level, I took that to mean that I wasn’t likeable and I reacted to this by people a people pleaser. I learned to get over that and to take care of myself. That seemed to include a lot of “cleaning.”

So let’s see what else I want to do.

  1. Be more true to myself
  2. Set boundaries and keep them
  3. Start some sort of strength training and do it twice a week. Hopefully blog about it so i can keep doing it
  4. Run two half marathons this year (The Little Rock half marathon sold out so I will have to pick another one. I figure one in the spring and then one in the fall or Winter
  5. I think I want to try to do the St. Jude marathon if it looks like my pace has crept up. Since I missed the LR half registration, I am going to keep my current running schedule as a ‘base’ and work in some speed work. I am considering the Oklahoma City half now.
  6. Work on my eating. I am subscribed to Weight Watchers online and I think I am going to focus on getting my servings of fruits and vegetables and serving sizes. Once I get that part right, I will focus on something else. It’s more one thing at a time. Hopefully this will result in me losing weight. (yeah these are much more vague than my concrete tasks of yesteryear)

I have been told that overeating is as much psychological as it is physical so I am going to assume that I will need some room to work on this. hence, the short list of resolutions this year. There you go. (yeah this will get to be more of a “weight loss” type blog. I can feel it)

Holidailies 2011

About those “old resolutions”

Why yes I do post New Year’s resolutions each year and I posted a brief list last year.

You don’t have to click the link, I will reprint them here.

1. I will not let the bad things that happen to me destroy the wonderful that is within me (aka I will not let life turn me into a bitter old hag)
2. I will attempt the 100 pushup challenge (I WILL!!)
3. I will attempt the 200 situp challenge
4. I will attempt the 200 squats challenge
5. I will train for the Little ROck half marathon that I have already entered and do another half marathon later in the year
6. In attempt to keep myself on track, I will whine write about my workouts on this blog
7. I will be kinder and more assertive
8. I will attend my high school reunion this year
9. I will also be keeping track of my 101 in 1001 list

Okay let’s review.

1. YES! I think I did this. it wasn’t perfect and I did have some dips. I also managed to get in touch with some people from my past and that brought up some issues but I do think that overall, I made some progress. WIN!
2. err.. NO! I put this every year. Honestly the only way I am going to do this is if I post the results on this blog. Oh well, workout blogging here we come.
3. See above.
4. See above. I do need to do it and add some strength training. Just running is lopsided fitness
5. I kept up my training and did better than last year on the half but it wasn’t a personal best. Also, I didn’t sign up for one in the winter/fall. I had originally planned to do St. Jude’s marathon until I realized that the marathon had a time limit that would put me at a pace much faster than I go now. I should read fine print.
6. I didn’t do this. in fact, I slacked on this blog big time. yeah…
7. Well I was more assertive and got myself out of situations that made me crabby and mean. I think that was ultimately kindness to myself. Maybe even kindness to other because staying around fighting with people whom don’t respect you. Not good.
8. Not only did I attend, I helped plan that sucker and it was so fun that we’re having mini-reunions every year (or every other year) for the rest of our freaking lives… (okay maybe .. maybe not.. but a party next summer is happening)
9. er… I think so… maybe.. maybe not.

Well let’s see.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I am not going to lie. Ever since I saw the trailer for this particular movie, I have been waiting to see this movie.

Yes this trailer.

I devoured the first two books about a month before the final book came out and read the final one pretty much around the time it went on sale. I haven’t read them since. Yes, I have sweet the entire Swedish trilogy released about two years ago. As a result, I didn’t go into this movie completely blind or without some expectations.

I was afraid that Hollywood was going to fetishize the violence towards women in this movie and turn it into torture porn. Considering that Fincher is also responsible for the movie Se7en, this concern isn’t hysterical. The original title of the book in Sweden (it is a Swedish book that was translated to English) is, when translated to English, “Men who Hate Women” and it is very clear that the violence towards female characters in the book is not something to be glorified. This is a hard line to do when the basis of your movie is entertainment. It’s not as stark as it was in the Swedish movies and there are fancy tricks with camera angles but Fincher managed to not over do it.

Okay, this is Rooney Mara’s movie. She managed to get the slightness of Lisbeth Salander as well as the “weirdness.” Lisbeth Salander may or may not have Asperger’s. She managed to capture the “offness” while still conveying emotion at the appropriate times. She managed to be weird when needed and fierce when also needed. The viewer needs to believe that she can be crazy violent when pushed too far and Mara managed it.

The opening credits are a slick music video utilizing animation and Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of the Immigrant Song. It’s an over the top visual extravaganza that only a Hollywood film can pull off.

The movie manages to follow the book fairly closely although there is a big change in plot point at the very, very end. Both the Swedish version as well as this version manage to gloss over the fact that women keep throwing themselves at Blomkvist, streamlining the plot point with Blomkvist only being involved with Salander and the editor of the magazine.

I liked it. Go see it.

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